Feb 16, 2010
Day 38 - The Beck Diet Solution and my struggle.
The first thing she reminds us is from Day 21:
Don't expect the scale to go down every week; it won't.
She divides plateaus into two categories, short term and long term. She says short term are when the scale doesn't move for a week or two, or goes up and down the same few pounds for a few weeks. Long term is more than a few weeks.
To be honest, I think what she is calling short term plateau is not a plateau at all but our bodies adjusting to our new weight, to our new muscle mass, to our calorie intake, to our exercise - I don't think it's realistic to call less than 4 weeks a plateau. When you have alot of weight to lose, in most cases, it's going to take a long time and during that time, your body needs time to heal and readjust.
Her suggestions for getting through or over a plateau are nothing new and we have all seen them here on other blogs and weight loss sites. My comments are in red.
1. Continue to do what you're doing and see if you continue to lose again.
I honestly believe that about 80% of success in weight loss is persistence and consistency. It's not about being perfect 100% of the time, it's about continuing to do what is working, day in and day out and making adjustments as you need to. There may come a time when what you're doing isn't working, but I think that time is longer than a few weeks.
2. Reduce your daily caloric intake by about 200 calories (check with a medical professional to make sure it is safe to do so).
The whole WW Momentum program is based on this theory, that as you lose weight - your body needs fewer calories to sustain it, so you should eat less. I have a whole book to write on this later on in this post - Tamara - keep reading!
3. Increase your daily exercise by 15-20 minutes.
Seems to make sense, burn more calories, lose more weight, right? Basically I think #2 and #3 are saying 'do something different" or "shake it up a little".
4. Call this your goal weight and move into maintenance.
Well that depends where you run into a plateau doesn't it? I'm not going call 215 my goal weight....but I might call 142 my goal weight (my goal is 140).
It seems to me that Beck's plateau advice is based on the sense that you have been doing all the right things and have been consistently losing and now you're not, so based on that, her suggestions mostly make sense.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I hit my own plateau; physically, emotionally and mentally back in October and basically have lost no new weight since then. I started around the middle of December in what I call "weight loss mode" again, tracking my points/calories - eating a balanced, healthy diet, cutting out almost all processed foods and exercising regularly.
Yet..here I am 3 months later still "stuck". Has my body forgotten the plan? I eat right, exercise and it loses weight...it's a simple deal - and although I am holding up my part - my body isn't playing nice.
Along the way, I've become iron deficient and D3 deficient which led to a whole host of other problems that certainly hindered my efforts in the last few weeks.
I finally decided that I must be missing "something". I must be doing something wrong or not enough of something right. I finally decided to see an Obesity doctor.
I showed him my weight loss graph, my food journals, my blood work history, I talked to him about my emotional/mental struggles I've faced, my physical health challenges and my fears. I told him about my trigger foods and what my philosophy is.
What did he tell me?
"You're not eating enough. 1200-1300 calories a day is not enough. Your body is holding on to every calorie. The more you exercise and the less you eat, the worse you are making it, you are creating too big of a claorie deficit."
Now I know, somedays I could eat a lumberjack under the table - and some days I don't make the best choices - but most of the time, I eat 1200-1300 calories of real food (24-26 points), including grains, protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.
This is how he explained the WW program to me. As you lose weight, they knock off points - so you eat less calories because you weigh less, the theory being that the less you weigh, the less calories your body needs to sustain itself. He said the theory is sound and true, but it doesn't take into account that at 30-40 and more pounds lighter, your body is healthier. It is now using insulin better, your cholesterol is down, your muscles work better and more efficiently and if you are more active, your metabolism has actually sped up. A faster metabolism needs more calories - not less. I think WW tries to address this with the Activity Points, i.e. you work out, you have more points to eat - but I don't think they explain well enough WHY you need to eat them.
I always get stuck at this point. I am at the 5th or 6th time trying to lose the same 100+ pounds. Every time I get to 35-40 lbs, I get stuck and eventually give up. All along through this time around, I've said, I am not giving up this time. I will break through it and I will succeed. I've tried the more exercise, less calories, Wendy plan, more fats, less carbs - oh sure, it would work for one week, I'd lose 2-3 lbs but then be back up the same 2-3 lbs in the coming weeks.
The clinic I went to does a resting metabolism test; it tells me how many calories I burn in a day, just living. I've always been told I have a slow metabolism; diabetes and thyroid disorder do that to you, so I had to eat less to compensate. I'm a bit of an anomoly - I don't have a slow metabolism, I have a fast metabolism - I've been feeding a slow metabolism yet starving my own fast metabolism.
So..what am I doing now? Up to 30 points a day on WW or 1500 calories a day - I can't decide which I want to stick with but it works out to be about the same either way. As I drop weight and get healthier, I may need to eat more...I will redo the test every 4 weeks and see where I'm at. I don't know if this is the solution. I was told to expect to gain weight the first few weeks as my body will want to hoard calories until it realises this is a regular thing and I'm going to feed it properly. I have to admit that the thought of gaining is scary, every pound up brings me closer to my highest weight of 250 that I never want to see again.
But what this doctor said made sense to me. He could show me my own test results and he could explain the patterns that have happened in all my attempts before.....what have I got to lose? Oh..about 75 more pounds. Trying this for one month isn't going to hurt, right? What I'm doing isn't working. Maybe eating more will help.
I'll keep you posted.